Pennsic 2013 Diary

Pennsic 42
The Pocket Bard is Crowned with Martyrdom – Yay!

I suppose this year’s diary title requires a bit of explanation. See, for the last year, I’ve been researching saints lives, mostly from a book called the Golden Legend, a 13th century hagiography (book of saint lives). And, in the Golden Legend, the equivalent of “the guy got the girl and they lived happily ever after” is “they were crowned with martyrdom.” Which clearly isn’t a particularly satisfying ending for a modern audience. So one day I was teaching a class on fun saint lives in the Golden Legend. I was tired, having just co-hosted a bardic circle the night before, and it was really early in the morning. I decided that as a fun means of keeping myself and my students engaged, every time I would say, “then they were crowned with martyrdom,” I would fling my arms into the air and shout “yay!” By the end of the class, I had my students doing it. By the end of Pennsic, I believe at least several hundred people knew the meme, even if they weren’t doing it themselves. Maybe my next year, that number will reach into the thousands. (A girl can hope, right?)

Friday, July 19

9 pm – Meadville, PA, Days Inn

Meadville. Yes, again. Jeanne and I have stayed at this particular hotel at least twice before, and eaten at the Perkins next door both times. Why mess with tradition?

I picked up Jeanne around 9:30 this morning with my stuff already packed in the car, and we packed her stuff into the remaining space in what must be a record-breaking 20 minutes. Thus, we beat the construction holiday traffic by a solid three hours. Go, us!

The drive was as uneventful as one could hope for. No major traffic, remarkably easy border crossing with only a 20-minute wait (and probably the first time in two years a border guard didn’t ask me, “What the heck’s historical camping?”). Lunched in Watertown, NY, around noon. Stopped somewhere on the I90 so I could get something caffeinated in the afternoon. Sadly, despite the two advil and the coolata, I had my semi-traditional driver’s migraine and fatigue for much of the afternoon until about 5 pm. Thankfully, they both passed after that. Had a tiny scare as we were about 20 minutes before Meadville when I realized I had almost no gas left, but “almost none” is not “totally none,” and it was a problem easily solved. Arrived in Meadville around 7 pm, found a room for $100 in the second hotel we checked, which is pretty reasonable given that it’s Friday night and we didn’t have a reservation. Supper at Perkins, and now we’re chilling out in the hotel room with RED on the TV as background sound. (Oh, RED, how I love you…)

This is gonna be a bit of an interesting first few days of Pennsic. For one thing, we’re gonna be there the morning of Land Grab Saturday, which is earlier than I’ve arrived since, I think, my first Pennsic. But I figured I had the time this year, and I owed it to my camp to help with setup. Which brings me to the second reason it’s gonna be interesting: it’s supposed to thunderstorm all day tomorrow. I do not look forward to setting up in thunderstorms. Rain might be okay, but thunderstorms not so much. Reason three: I’m far less prepared than I should be. I figured that since my last day at work was last Friday, I’d have all week to prep. And then this whole past week was the first really bad heat wave of the year, and I could do almost nothing but sit in my non-air-conditioned apartment and melt. So while I did most of my shopping, I didn’t do the small garb fixes I wanted, and I was way lax in prepping bardic. Oh, well. I’ll manage somehow. Reason four: Due to the aforementioned heat wave, I haven’t been sleeping well. Yes, I spent the last two nights at my mom’s (air-conditioned) house, but I’ve been having trouble sleeping all week. Silly body, sleep dep is only supposed to start once I arrive at Pennsic. The lead-up week is supposed to be building up the sleep bank so I can abuse it at Pennsic. Sigh.

Anyway, that’s where things stand. As always, I have quite a number of plans: three stage performances, hosting or co-hosting two bardic circles, a shift guarding the East Kingdom gate, teaching three classes… and that’s just the stuff I’m committed to absolutely. There are a ton more things that are simply desires, and of course the two dozen camps I’d like to visit at least every few days. My one consolation is that the heat wave (which has been affecting Slippery Rock even more than Montreal) is supposed to break on Sunday.

Oh, one more reason this year is odd: I quit my job for Pennsic. Well, that’s not entirely true. There were a number of reasons I quit my job, not least of which because the office is downsizing and my job would probably be eliminated in a few months anyway. My boss (the Executive Director) is being replaced by an Office Manager in the next week or two, there may not be a physical office by the time I come home, and I’m almost certain my position will not be replaced. So, on the one hand, I don’t need to be back in Montreal at any particular time, and – allergies permitting – I plan to stay all the way ‘till the end. On the other, I don’t have any income when I come home. That said, while I was packing, I realized I had $550 in traveler’s checks from last year I never cashed, so… yay found money! Time and money in a single Pennsic? Be still my beating heart!

Tomorrow, I arrive at War. I just hope Mother Nature doesn’t steal all the war points.

Forward to Saturday, July 20


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